NEHGS Painting Restoration

Arlington BrookEvery day, a battle ensues as paintings face the elements. Light, humidity, and pollution wage a war on art. Some paintings withstand these elemental threats boldly. Others, weakened by excessive exposure and abuse, fade, crack, and deteriorate. In this battle, we can lose the artists’ original visions, and in fact, pieces of our heritage. Rescuing art from these perils becomes a crusade which the conservator leads.

Conservators, like generals in battle, plot their strategy by analyzing every inch of the work both inside and out, to determine the best course of action. The lay of the canvas on the stretcher, the cracks on the painting’s surface, and every observable detail give us clues about the piece’s condition. With an abundance of skill, patience and knowledge, the conservator slowly turns back the damage of time and brings a painting back to life. The final result lets us see the work as our ancestors did.

An African Farm

Roy Blankenship has worked extensively with the New England Historic Genealogical Society to restore many of the works of fine art the Society has collected in its 150 year history. Follow the links to the right to learn more about the work doen on each piece.

A closer look at the restoration of a portrait of Frederic Kidder